28 Mar 2017 Workshop — Paris, France

Scaling-up renewables through decentralised energy solutions



Participants List


Renewables have clearly entered the mainstream and there is consensus that they are a central pillar of a sustainable energy system. However, the uneven growth of renewables across sectors is becoming increasingly apparent. Tackling CO2 calls for more attention to the heat and transport sectors which needs to be done at the local level. Meanwhile, system integration issues around wind and solar PV are emerging in more countries. Electric vehicles, thermal storage in district heating, heat pumps and demand response all offer opportunities for balancing variable renewables. These solutions can be brought together at the local level and many cities have already taken a lead, demonstrating how it can be done..

These issues were addressed during the annual workshop of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Working Party on decentralised energy solutions for which 180 government officials, industry representatives and other experts gathered in Paris. More than 20 speakers and panellists provided insightful contributions, while great audience participation made for rich discussions. 


Session 1 - New business models for power

The rapidly falling costs of renewables (especially rooftop PV) and storage have opened up the scope of decentralised/distributed generation at a variety of scales. This provides challenges for the traditional utility model but also many opportunities. This opening session explored questions such as:

  • What is the role of decentralised energy solutions in a decarbonized energy system vis-à-vis more centralized options? 
  • Is decentralised generation and the emergence of the prosumer just a small-scale phenomenon or could it become disruptive? 
  • Does the increasing popularity of self-generation (especially through solar PV) threaten the traditional utility model?
  • How can traditional utilities adjust?
  • What does this mean for the regulation of the utility sector?

Moderator: Paolo Frankl, Head, IEA Renewable Energy Division

Scene-setting presentation: Peter Fraser, Head IEA Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division New business models for power


Francesco Venturini, CEO, ENEL Green Power

Felix Dembski, VP Strategy, sonnen GmbH

Thomas Plagemann, Chief Commercial Officer, Vivint Solar

Francisco Laverón, Head of Energy Prospective, Iberdrola

Alexis Steverlynck, Key Program Manager, Distributed Energy, ENGIE


Session 2 - Drivers for change – the role of cities, industry and smart solutions

Cities and companies have been at the forefront of the shift towards more decentralised energy, with many setting themselves ambitious targets for renewables. This shift is increasingly being facilitated by smart energy solutions and data. The session examined this trend and looked at the following issues:

  • What have been the drivers behind city and industry decentralised energy investments? 
  • How can these players help provide greater energy system integration? 
  • How essential are smart energy systems and data in facilitating these local energy solutions?

Moderator: Bryan Hannegan, Associate Lab Director - Energy Systems Integration, NREL, US


Sun Jin Yun, Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy, Seoul National University ‌Seoul's energy transition experiment

Jonas Tolf, Head Energy and Climate Change Unit, City of Stockholm Sweden Stockholm towards a fossil-fuel free 2040

David de Jager, Operating Agent, IEA-RETD Fostering renewable energy integration in industry

Shin-ichi Inage, Department Manager, Hitachi Ltd & Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan Our experiences and activities of smart communities and renewables

Gert De Block, European Federation of Local Energy Companies


Session 3 - Electro-mobility, storage and renewables

Electric vehicles and storage can play an important role in facilitating the integration of variable renewable power sources, with options becoming increasingly attractive to consumers at all scales. This session addressed questions such as:

  • How essential are electric vehicles in decarbonisation scenarios and what are the prospects for them taking off as a consumer choice?
  • How should grid operators plan for the expansion of electric vehicles? What are the challenges?
  • What new storage solutions are emerging to facilitate both EVs and larger shares of variable renewables?

Moderator: Jesse Scott, IEA Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division


Guillaume Berthier, Sales & Marketing Director, Electric cars, Renault

Pierpaolo Cazzola, Senior Transport Analyst, IEA Energy Technology Policy Division Electro-mobility status and prospects


Matteo Codazzi, CEO, CESI, Italy

Yann Laot, Strategic Marketing Manager, Transportation, Telecom and Grid, Saft Batteries

Thomas Veyrenc, Director of Markets and Regulatory Affairs, RTE, France


Session 4 - Heat and sector coupling

Heat accounts for more than half of final energy consumption and its provision is by its very nature local and decentralised. However, at present, renewables play a very small role in heat supply. This session will discuss options for heat supply decarbonisation that can also provide broader system integration services. Questions to be addressed include:

  • How can local authorities ensure that local heat supply is decarbonised and provides maximum system benefits through effective sector coupling?
  • What are the roles of district heating and heat electrification in providing system integration services?
  • In the already decentralised heat sector, is there possibly a need for more centralisation (e.g. through heat networks) to facilitate the deployment of renewables?

Moderator: Ute Collier, IEA Renewable Energy Division


Wiebke Fiebig, Director, Municipal Energy Agency, City of Frankfurt am Main
Birger Lauersen, Manager International Affairs, Danish District Heating Association District heating driving renewables and decarbonisation


Monica Axell, General Manager, IEA Heat Pump Centre
Karl-Heinz Backhaus, Head Government Relations, Associations and Standards, Vaillant Group
Paul Voss, Managing Director, Euroheat and Power